In addition to serving a critical role in supporting teaching and learning for Yale faculty and students, many of Yale’s extensive collections are free and open to the public. Students and families can examine paintings up close at the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art, observe the night sky at the Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium, and take a peek at the Gutenberg Bible and astonishing architecture at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. For outdoor lovers, students and families can visit Yale’s Marsh Botanical Garden for monthly events, or volunteer and harvest produce at the West Campus Farm.
Visit Educational Places on Campus
Educational Places Programs
The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library inspires engagement with the past, in the present, for the future. One of the world’s largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts, it is Yale University’s principal repository of literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. The exhibition hall is free and open to the public daily, with the Gutenberg Bible and Audubon’s Birds of America on permanent view along with special exhibitions. The Beinecke Library’s collections are used to create new scholarship by researchers from around the world in a wide range of fields, from literary and cultural studies to the history of science, music, theater, and art; the history of the book, of photography, graphic design, and architecture; as well as social, intellectual, and political history.
The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments acquires, preserves, and exhibits musical instruments from antiquity to the present, and showcases restored examples in demonstrations and live performances. It is a renowned research collection and a world-class museum that engages the public in the fascinating history of musical instruments through exhibits, publications, concerts, and outreach initiatives.
Named in honor of the father of modern neurosurgery, Yale graduate Dr. Harvey Cushing, this exhibit includes more than 450 specimen jars of patients’ brains and tumors, surgical illustrations, personal diaries, photographs of patients & pathology slides, memorabilia and 22 discovery drawers to explore. The Cushing Center offers weekly tours of the collection and is open to the public.
The Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium is a facility of the Yale Department of Astronomy. The planetarium is used to teach astronomy concepts to undergraduate classes, to support astronomy programs at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and to present planetarium shows to the general public. The planetarium and observatory are open to the public every Tuesday night.
Sitting on eight acres, with impressive diversity of plant collections in six greenhouses and outdoor gardens, Marsh Botanical Garden (MBG) offers support for researchers, faculty, and students at Yale, as well as an informative and inspirational experience for visitors. MBG also hosts educational tours of collections and the monthly “Green Café.”
Pathways students get a behind-the-scenes look at the Yale Wright Laboratory and undertake hands-on activities that reveal how Wright Lab researchers can make the invisible visible. Wright Lab is transforming our understanding of the universe by exploring fundamental questions about the physical world through a broad research program in nuclear, particle, and astrophysics; inspiring and preparing a diverse group of future scientists; and promoting the value of science in society. Wright Lab researchers explore the frontiers of science, investigating dark matter, neutrinos, how matter is made and interacts, quantum phenomena, the beginnings of the universe, and more.
Located in the heart of Central Campus, the Sterling Memorial Library is one of Yale’s most prominent buildings, as well as being the largest of all the Yale libraries. It currently houses about three million books on 16 floors. It was built in the Collegiate Gothic style, resembling a European Gothic cathedral, with a soaring nave, cloisters, clerestory windows, side chapels, and a circulation-desk altar. Sterling Memorial Library also houses the Gilmore Music Library, the university archives, and the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as numerous reading rooms and departments.
The Yale Center for British Art houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom in a landmark building designed by Louis Kahn. The YCBA has a rich array of exhibitions and educational programs, as well as fellowships and academic resources, including a reference library and study room for examining works on paper in the collection. The museum is open to the public and admission and all programming is free. The Yale Center for British Art encourages families and children of all ages to explore the collections.
The Yale Farm is a lush and productive teaching farm that produces vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers, as well as providing a home to free-ranging chicken flocks and honey bees. It provides a place where the community can come together to learn about the agriculture and the complex systems that feed us. The farm hosts workshops, seminars, open workdays, and a program for New Haven public school second graders.
The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History houses a diverse collection of 13 million objects that includes Egyptian mummies, samurai swords, and animals and plants from across the world. The museum’s paleontological collections rank among the most historically important fossil collections in the world. The Peabody also offers an increasing number of online programs and activities for all ages, and their online catalog houses digital images of more than 163,000 specimens, artifacts, and objects.
The Yale University Art Gallery has more than 4,000 works of art on view from cultures all over the world. The more than 200,000 objects in its permanent collection range from American decorative arts and American paintings and sculpture to African art and art of the ancient Americas. In addition to its permanent collection, the Gallery also has many educational programs and special exhibitions. The museum is free and open to the public.
The Yale University Visitor Center is the front door of the university as it welcomes visitors from across the world. It is conveniently located on Elm Street, across from the New Haven Green. Visitors can participate in a guided tour with Yale College students or visit the campus “virtually.” Groups of ten or more visitors can schedule a private tour. The group-tour fee is waived for all New Haven Public Schools.